Albany Med Health System Applies Artificial Intelligence to Enhance Stroke Care

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New, cutting-edge software will allow the Albany Med Health System to streamline stroke care acrossviz stroke software its four hospitals. The System will be the first in northeast New York to apply the Viz.ai computer-aided triage system, which is approved by the FDA, to help facilitate early access to the most advanced stroke care for patients at Albany Medical Center Hospital, Columbia Memorial Health (CMH), Glens Falls Hospital and Saratoga Hospital.

“Successful stroke treatment requires quick and decisive action, and each minute can make a difference in saving someone’s life or ensuring continued quality of life,” said Alan Boulos, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Herman and Sunny Stall Chair of Endovascular Surgery, director of the neurovascular section and professor of neurosurgery and radiology at Albany Medical College. “This technology will allow stroke specialists throughout the Albany Med Health System to securely communicate in order to synchronize care and determine the optimal treatment decision for the patient, potentially saving critical time in the triage, diagnosis and treatment of stroke, resulting in improved outcomes for our patients.”

When a patient who is suspected of having a stroke arrives at the hospital, CT angiograms are typically performed to assess blood flow in the brain. When the Viz.ai artificial intelligence software detects a large vessel occlusion (LVO)—a type of stroke caused by blockage of one of the major arteries and having a greater risk of death or long-term disability—stroke specialists across the System are alerted immediately on their phones, allowing them to plan for appropriate treatment or transfer of care quicker than ever.

LVOs account for 20% of all strokes and require advanced treatment. As the region’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, Albany Medical Center Hospital is the only hospital in the region with an endovascular neurosurgery team able to perform mechanical thrombectomy—the “gold standard of stroke treatment”—to treat these strokes by removing clots and restoring blood flow to the brain, increasing the likelihood of a better quality of life after stroke. If the software detects a LVO stroke at any of the partner hospitals, the patient will be prepared for transfer to Albany Medical Center Hospital.

“This is an excellent example of why Saratoga Hospital made the strategic decision to join the Albany Med Health System,” said Richard Falivena, M.D., vice president and chief medical and physician integration officer at Saratoga Hospital. “With our system partners, Saratoga Hospital can offer technology and expertise that otherwise would be unavailable to a community hospital—and that can be life-changing for our patients.”

Clifford Belden, M.D., chief medical officer for CMH, said: “The acquisition of the Viz.ai system will help our award-winning care team remain on the cutting edge of stroke treatment by providing rapid alerts to stroke specialists across the Albany Med Health System who can quickly assist in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. This will increase the likelihood for favorable outcomes. It’s another great example of Columbia Memorial working with our Albany Med affiliates and the newest technology to benefit our local community.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Albany Medical Center on this new technology to streamline and consolidate stroke care across our system,” said Jonathan Braiman, M.D., chair of the Neurology Department at Glens Falls Hospital. “Though the best treatment for stroke is still prevention, this helps us identify candidates for acute stroke intervention more efficiently.”

Albany Med, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 766-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists, and other healthcare professionals. It also includes the region’s largest physicians’ practice with 500 doctors. Albany Med works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. Albany Med is an affiliate of the Albany Med Health System, which also includes Columbia Memorial Health, Glens Falls Hospital and Saratoga Hospital. The region’s largest locally governed health system, it has 1,520 beds, more than 800 physicians and 125 outpatient locations throughout the Capital Region.